I had planned to do a separate March and April post, but I left it way too late. In my defence I was waiting on one final piece of the post puzzle to arrive in the post before I posted this post (ha, sorry!). March/April were probably the biggest months Spike and I have had in a while. As you guys probably already know from previous diary entries, Spike was having some time off as I was pregnant. Our little babe is 3 months old now and I was finally able to get out to the barn to do some worth with Spike, WOO HOO!
In March Spike and I entered into the Mane Show. The Mane Show is a UK based company that allows equestrians to compete online. You basically film yourself riding and then submit the video in to the class you’ve selected. They have a heap of different classes each month and it’s a great way to be able to compete and get feedback on your riding without having to commit a full day to a show, it’s also great for people like me who are pushed for time!
Spike and I entered a compilation of our riding videos into the Best Newcomer class and we ended up coming 5th! This is the first “competition” Spike and I have entered and the first rosette we’ve ever won so it was really exciting.
I’ve also started working Spike again. He’s had 12 months off and so we’ve gone back to groundwork. I’m a bit disappointed, because before I fell pregnant we were at the stage where we were about to start work under saddle again and now we have to start all over. But, that’s okay, I don’t mind doing the groundwork with him. It’s good fun and I enjoy watching him learn and seeing the changes in him.
In our first session back we worked on hooking on, yielding hindquarters and lateral flexion. He was really nervous walking up the lane way to the roundyard which is understandable as it’s only the second time he’s been out of the paddock since October. But I was very proud as his hooking on, yielding hindquarters and lateral flexion was near perfect.
I have to say after the first session I was very impressed. Unfortunately our second one didn’t go as well. I’m not surprised by that as it’s something I’ve noticed in him before, he has good days and bad days, as do we all.
The second groundwork session definitely reiterated that we have a long way to go to get back in the saddle and that we’ve also got a long way to go to rebuild Spikes fitness. We did about 15-20minutes of hooking on at a steady trot before he had worked himself into a sweat and so I quit there. Slow and steady has always been, in my opinion, the best way. Not just because of Spikes condition but because I want to make sure I am getting everything right from the beginning.
But, we have a LOT to work on… he was still hesitant walking up the lane way to the round yard. We stopped several times and he required quite a bit of coaxing to get going again. He also spent a lot of time looking around for and calling out to other horses.
When we got up to the round yard we started with hooking on and I noticed that he has started cutting in on the circle when working in the round pen (the opposite side to the gate). That’s not something I’ve ever seen him do before so we need to work on that too.
And as silly as it sounds we also need to work on leading because he rushes me on the way back to the paddock.
Although you wouldn’t think it all these behaviours are related. They stem from the fact that his security blanket is in the four “walls” of his paddock and that when he’s taken out of it he feels uncomfortable. This is all stuff that we can fix with time purely by doing more groundwork and getting him confident in himself again.
There’s still a LOT of work to do but I am excited to see how we go!
Spike also had a trim this month. A few months back we put him on a new mineral supplement and I’ve really noticed the change in his feet. He has always had pretty awful feet, he gets terrible cracks in the front ones (we think because of the way he walks – he plaits. For those who don’t know plaiting means when a horse crosses their feet one in front of the other, as if they were walking on a tightrope). But, the cracks have pretty much all but grown out now and I’m hoping it stays that way.
This is a photo of Spike waiting for his trim, it was a horribly miserable rainy day but he was a trooper as he always is!
This month I also got baking and made Spike and all the other horses at the barn some of my peppermint treats. It’s a really easy little treat to make and the horses really enjoy them (although Spike would love anything you fed him lol).
If you want to try them for yourself you can find the recipe, here.